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bond with his native country. >> seeing a german succeed pope john paul ii was a victory for our country. in benedick's ministry, they combine high philosophical teaching with a straight forward manner of speaking and humanitarian kindness. chancellor merkel also commented on benedict's decision expressing understanding or his motivations. she praised him as saying that, as pope, he committed himself to interfaith dialogue. >> restrengthen the ties to the eastern orthodox churches. he reached out to jews and muslims. . xvi is and will remain one of the greatest religious figures of our time. >> i cannot imagine this. a pope is elected to serve until the end of his life. it is a decision that will perhaps make room for younger generation to take office. >> for the most part, his move received strong support from the german capital. >> for more, we're joined now by our religious affairs correspondent. john, you have and our correspondent during the entire time of his role. did the news, as a surprise? >> not entirely, sabrina. 10 years ago, he said in public that he thought it was
of pope john paul ii. he was the oldest person to become pontiff in 275 years. benedict xvi was a conservative pope, he strongly opposed to birth control, but he embraced new forms of communication and joined twitter last year. pope benedict faced a string of challenges during his term from sexual abuse scandals involving the members of the clergy to an investigation into money laundering in vatican city. a court convicted his former butler last year of stealing and leaking classified documents that pointed to corruption in the vatican. the pope pardoned him over christmas. it's rare for a pope to resign. pope benedict is the first to quit in nearly 600 years. senior members of the catholic church will now start planning their conclave, the meeting they hold to choose a successor. >>> police in the united states are investigating yet another case of gun violence. pop ben fikt benedict xvi will be one of the most religious thinkers of the age. >> the president says he has warm memories. the meeting drew attention because of the different views on abortion rights. he hopes it
the new pope to continue that and continue to use worked started by john paul ii. >> i would like a young girl pope coming under than the current one. i would like more forms to get women involved in the church. >> many here believe things have to change, especially to stop the solution catholics from turning their backs on the church. >> for more and are, john, we just heard about the fact that some german catholics are looking for more reform. how is that scene? >> it's a very german phenomenon actually. there is criticism and even hostility toward the catholic church in other countries and far less demands for theological reforms. in upper cook, it is a very on critical atmosphere. >> how likely is it that we will see a non-european? >> it is very suspect. they have not voted along geographic lines. if they had come and the latin americans would not have elected cardinal ratzinger seven years ago. >> western societies seem somewhat removed from the church. where is this going? >> it's a very old institution, isn't it? let me tell you is story. in the beginning of the fifth century, the
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